Brussels Sprouts

Did You Know?

Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and many other cruciferous vegetables.  Early varieties were cultivated in ancient Rome while more modern varieties were popularized in the Flanders region of northern Europe in the 13th century where they became associated with the major city of the area – Brussels.  French settlers introduced the plant to Louisiana in the 1800’s.  Early in the Americas, Brussels sprouts were also known as the “1000 headed cabbage”.

Types of Brussels Sprouts

Most Brussels sprouts are green but some varieties have been crossed with red cabbage to make a purplish-red sprout such as Redarling and Rubine.  Green varieties that do well include Jade Cross, Bubbles and Hestia.  Standard varieties can top 4 feet in height while dwarf varieties may remain less than 2 feet tall.

When to Plant

Brussels sprouts are a cool season vegetable – in fact one of the most cold tolerant vegetables in the garden.  Transplants can be set out starting in mid-September and continue through February.  Plants set out early will produce in late fall through winter and later plantings will produce in the spring.  Plants can take 100 days or longer to mature.  

Harvest and Storage

Sprouts grow in the leaf axils of the plant in a helical pattern up the stalk and they mature sequentially from the bottom of the plant.  Sprouts should be harvested once they are firm and about an inch or so in diameter.  The leaves adjacent to the harvested sprouts should also be removed to encourage more plant growth into the remaining leaves and sprouts up the plant.  Harvest should be done regularly as quality deteriorates on overly mature sprouts.  Harvested sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  If desired, the entire stalk – with leaves removed- can be harvested and stored in a cool location.  Many consider sprouts that have gone through a frost or light freeze to be sweeter.

By:  Michael Vidrine

Brussels Sprouts and Warm Bacon Salad


  • 6-8 slices bacon small dice
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts shredded
  • 2-3 cups kale chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup Manchego cheese shredded

Apple Cider Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Messina Hof Orange Muscat Mistella
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On the baking sheet, toss together the bacon, rosemary, brown sugar, maple, and cayenne. Arrange in an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes, until the bacon is beginning to crisp. Add the walnuts and butter, toss to coat. Bake another 8-10 minutes, watching closely.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts and kale.
  • To make the dressing, whisk/shake together all ingredients in a jar. Pour the dressing over the salad and massage into the greens. Add the pomegranates and cheese – toss.
  • Arrange the warm bacon and walnuts over the salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wine Pairings for Dishes with Brussels Sprouts

as recommended by Karen Bonarrigo & Merrill Bonarrigo

5 Things to know about pairing wines with Brussels Sprouts:

  • Brussel Sprouts have become an American restaurant favorite vegetable – particularly with bacon and roasted. We see it often served as a side or even snack that can pair nicely with different wines.
  • Brussel Sprouts is a cruciferous veggie like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Served raw or blanched tastes lean and light making it pair best with light wines like Riesling and Chenin Blanc.
  • Introducing fatty or creamy elements or fried preparations boost flavor weight and texture which allow pairing with richer heavier white wines and rose’s.
  • Adding flavors like bacon add flavor weight that pairs well with red wines.
  • In a salad, the dressing is most often the strongest flavor and should never overwhelm the wine. Apple Cider dressing is a natural pairing for white wines.
  • Recommended wines:

Merrill and Karen Bonarrigo, Wine and Food Pairing experts at Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc.

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